Support independent music. Who hasn’t heard or spoken those words at one point or another when discussing the acts being played across America’s major corporate radio stations? For all of the acts that are lucky enough to get their music on the radio there are just as many independent acts out there working to make a name for themselves. This includes acts both signed and unsigned. One of the most notable of those many acts is a band known as Another Lost Year. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based band was recently signed to Megadeth Bassist Dave Ellefson’s new record label EMP Label Group. And its new album Alien Architect will be released via EMP Label Group. This twelve-song, forty-four minute record is a prime example of why independent acts deserve just as much support as the acts being played over and over again today on America’s major radio stations. The album’s songs boast a decidedly radio ready sound from one to the next. Its lyrical themes will grab listeners just as much as that radio ready sound exhibited in its songs. All things considered Alien Architect is a record that in the end could very well earn Another Lost Year many new years of success given enough support.
Alien Architect is not Another Lost Year’s first full-length recording. It is however, a record that could very well earn the band many years of success. But that will only happen if the band, signed to Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson’s independent label EMP Label Group gets enough support. That is clear right from the first of the twelve-song (technically eleven since the album’s first track isn’t even a song, but a sample) record’s full compositions, ‘Wolves.’ In terms of the song’s musical arrangement it boasts a song that can easily be compared to that of Breaking Benjamin and certain other acts. It is a very high-energy arrangement that serves to make the song a solid opener for the album. The song’s lyrical content is just as interesting. It solidifies the song’s overall frame even more as front man Clinton Cunanan addresses someone who is a bit too hung up on himself or herself. That is inferred as he sings over the song’s driving musical arrangement, “I’m breaking the lock on broken bones/You carry scars just to show/Pride is your weakness/I’m brining with me the best of Hell/Everything you fear/Your worst dream/And I’m on your trail/How do you even sleep at night/When the wolf’s at your door/And no one’s in sight.” He comes across as saying to that person, “You are so full of yourself. I’m coming after you. How do you even sleep with yourself, knowing what’s coming?” The song’s chorus even seems to hint at the noted message as Cunanan and his band mates—Adam Hall (bass, vocals), Nate Walker (drums), and Jorge Sotomarino (guitar)—sing, “Wake Up!/I’m giving you one last chance to run like hell/Before I come/Unleashing the darkest depths/You know you’ve got one minute left.” In other words, he’s saying to that person, “this is your last warning. Run now or pay the consequences.” What is interesting about this is that as aggressive as the song’s lyrical message appears, the song’s musical arrangement doesn’t entirely match that lyrical content. One would think that a much more aggressive sound would accompany such lyrical content. Yet somehow the combination of the two elements actually works in this case. That being the case the song stands out as not just a solid opener for Alien Architect but also a clear example of why this “independent” act deserves as much support as its more mainstream counterparts. It is not the album’s only standout composition. ‘He Took Beautiful Away’ stands out among the album’s body of songs just as much as ‘Wolves.’
‘Wolves’ is a standout addition to Alien Architect’s overall presentation. One wouldn’t think that the song’s musical and lyrical content would work together. But somehow they do. And being that they do they make the song a solid opener for the album and, again, one of the album’s most notable compositions. It isn’t the album’s only notable inclusion. ‘He Took Beautiful Away’ stands out just as much as ‘Wolves’ but in a completely different fashion. Whereas ‘Wolves’ boasted a much more driving, confident sound this composition’s musical arrangement is far more emotional in its approach yet no less powerful. Its arrangement feels based somewhat in its vocal delivery and guitar work. The album’s companion booklet doesn’t note specifically if Cunanan specifically handled the song’s lead guitar line or if it could be attributed to [Jorge] Sotomarino. Regardless of who handled the guitar line here, that line couples with Cunanan’s vocal delivery to make a solid foundation for the song. That is not to ignore the Walker’s work on drums or Hall’s work on bass. As a matter of fact both men add their own extra touch to the song with their work. All things considered here the song’s musical arrangement is a good match for its lyrical content. The song’s lyrical content is just as powerful as its musical content. It hints at being centered on a woman who has been physically abused. This can be deducted as Cunanan sings over the song’s equally emotional musical arrangement, “He took beautiful away from you/An empty smile with a vacant soul/How do you find the strength/With all that’s done/To just move on/To just let go?/A word so perfect/That’s from a world that’s so cruel/A feeling so true/And there’s no more hiding in your eyes/He took beautiful away from you.” This would seem to be a relatively clear story. Here, audiences meet a woman who has been through hell yet hides it all and keeps on going. The song’s closing verse hints at this even more as Cunanan sings, “The feelings of worthless/The cost of a fool/You stay so pretty/No on can guess the secrets you hold/I see the corner he chased you to/Is this the place you hide the things you would say/And the things you would do?” If there was any doubt before about the song’s story, then that final verse completely erases that doubt. That emotional story, when coupled with the song’s equally emotional musical content makes this song a powerful statement from Another Lost Year. It makes the song in whole yet another of Alien Architect’s standout compositions, but not its last either. ‘Best Is Yet To Come’ is yet another one of the album’s key compositions.
‘Wolves’ and ‘He Took Beautiful Away’ are both key inclusions in Alien Architect. That is due to the songs’ mix of musical and lyrical content. The songs’ musical content in question varies drastically between the two compositions as do their lyrical content. The songs’ lyrical content is just as notable because of its stories. The latter tells a powerful story about what one has to assume is a woman who has been abused. The other is a more adrenaline fueled piece that makes for a solid opener for the album. Keeping all of this in mind, both songs prove to be equally important additions to Alien Architect. They are not the album’s only key compositions. ‘Best Is Yet To Come’ is yet another of the album’s key compositions. Listening to this song’s musical arrangement it is perhaps the record’s most radio ready piece with its power chords and catchy hooks. Those hooks and chords couple with the song’s lyrical content to make it an instant hit for the band. Speaking of those lyrics, Cunanan’s story (of sorts) is one of a rather strong-willed person; Someone that has been put through the proverbial wringer but refuses to give up and back down. This is hinted as Cunanan sings, “I won’t back down, I won’t pretend/I’ve given you everything in me/This time you threw it all away/I won’t forgive you/The best is yet to come.” That’s just the song’s chorus. He sings in the song’s final verse, “Had the world in the palm of your hand/Held it up like it was a dream/This time was it everything/You know you’re just a pawn in this game you’re playing” This is a person that was completely wrapped up in himself/herself; so much so that he/she didn’t realize what was going on. So the song’s subject is putting him/her in his/her place. He is telling that person, “I’ve done everything and given everything. I’m not doing any more.” It’s a strong statement. Yet it isn’t one of those pummeling, screaming statements either. It is just a solid, confident statement from the song’s subject. That statement, coupled with the song’s equally confident musical arrangement, makes the song one of the album’s strongest compositions, if not its strongest. And together with the likes of ‘Wolves’ and ‘He Took Beautiful Away’ all three songs show clearly what makes Alien Architect just as good as any record released by the band’s more well-known counterparts. It is a record that deserves just as much support as those released by those acts, too. The rest of the album’s songs not noted here prove that just as much. All things considered Alien Architect shows in whole to be one of 2016’s top new independent albums.
Another Lost Year’s new album Alien Architect is one of 2016’s top new independent albums. It is a record that clearly exhibits why independent acts (signed and unsigned) deserve their own share of support. That is made clear through the record’s collective musical arrangements and its equally insightful lyrical content. The three songs noted here make the crystal clear. The songs not noted here could be cited just as much as the compositions noted here to support those statements. In the end, the combination of the album’s musical arrangements and lyrical content make Alien Architect in whole a record that is not just one of the year’s best new independent releases but also an album proving why independent music deserves just as much support as that played on major radio stations. It is currently scheduled to be released this Friday, June 10th via EMP Label Group and Mirage M’Hal Records. The band recently premiered the video for the album’s lead single ‘Wolves’ online. It can be viewed via YouTube and Vevo. More information on Alien Architect is available online now along with more information on the band’s upcoming live dates at:
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